Yoav Fisher
Father, Economist

The ‘Reform’ Will Codify the Subjugation of Women

photo credit: Ze’ev Yanai
photo credit: Ze’ev Yanai

My biggest fear from what is going on Israel is that too many people in Israel are ignoring the serious implications this “Reform” will have on their own lives. People are losing sight of the major underlying issues of the proposed judicial reform that is being pushed by the right wing coalition members of the Knesset.

One of the scariest things that should be getting much more attention is that if this reform passes it will mean the codified subjugation of women in Israel.

Today there are several pending laws that will significantly change the rights of women in Israel. The laws directly violate the right of every woman in Israel to be free about where she wants to work, when and where she goes, equality in marriage and divorce rights, labor, and violence against women, and a whole lot more.

This is not “fake news”, this is not alarmist propaganda. These are the actual laws currently up for approval that are being pushed by the ultra-nationalist and ultra-religious factions of the coalition government.

Proposed Laws 1551 and 1498 limit where and when a woman can freely visit public areas.

Proposed Law 134 implies that the country will recognize children only when there is a legal mother (female) and father (male). Obviously this affects the entire LBTQ community, but also single mothers.

Then there is the batch of laws (1579, 1567, 415, 416) that all greatly increase the power of the Rabbinical court in Israel — giving them significantly more leeway over the lives of women. Some go so far as to state that if one of the parties (the woman) refuses Rabbinic Court and prefers Civil Court, she cannot appeal.

This is a major issue. For those who are not familiar, the Rabbinic Court in Israel has an extensive and well documented history of discrimination against women. (Just some tidbits here, here, here, and pretty much everything that pops up when you google search the keywords “rabbinic court women”).

Expanding the role of the Rabbinic Court means that the fundamental discrimination against women will extend beyond marriage and divorce to civil issues like labor, contractual law, etc…

And I am leaving out the other rumored laws that have not yet actually submitted as proposed laws — like the one that states an employer can fire any pregnant woman without recourse. Or the one that limits how many women can work in public offices.

But that is just half of it. The current coalition government has already entrenched anti-women policies.

The actual terms of the formation of the coalition government contain many instances of flagrant discrimination against women.

This is not fake news. It is in the actual real agreement between the coalition party members, ratified on Dec 28, 2022 (here).

Take Clause 97, for example, which implies that the separation between women and men in academic institutions, cultural events, buses, swimming pools and more will be significantly expanded, and that the Israeli Supreme court cannot intervene.

Clause 110 states that: “The government will work towards a legislative arrangement that will restore the authority of the rabbinical courts to hear arbitration proceedings in matters of commissions agreed by the parties, and this without the need for the judgment to be ratified by the district court.” — and again the Israeli Supreme Court cannot intervene. As we know over centuries of Rabbinic Courts — this will adversely affect women.

And most bizarrely, Clause 106, which states that the Government will not join the Istanbul Convention.

What is the Istanbul Convention? It is a human rights treaty sponsored by the European Council specifically addressing violence against women; aimed at preventing violence, protecting victims, and ending the impunity of perpetrators.

In other words, according to the coalition government, violence against women is not even a “thing” to be considered. This is all the more bizarre considering Israel has been undergoing a frightening increase in violence against women over the last three years.

Just take a second to think about all of this….

The underlying preconditions for the formation of the current Israeli coalition government are inherently discriminatory toward women.

The current laws being proposed by the coalition government are flagrantly discriminatory and will relegate woman to second-class citizens of Israel.

There is only one thing in Israel that can protect women: The Israeli Supreme Court. But if this judicial reform goes through then the Israeli Supreme Court will be powerless to stop these laws.

And here we go back to the beginning – too many people ignore the ramifications of this reform.

Supporting the judicial reform means you are supporting the ramifications of this reform. Therefore, supporting the judicial reform means you are supporting the subjugation of women in Israel.

The implications of this reform are going to directly and immediately affect your wives, your sisters, your mothers, your daughters, and you.

So think twice about what you are backing.

Link to the laws mentioned above (Hebrew)


About the Author
Yoav Fisher lives and works in Israel.
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